To fix problems, State DOE cutting standardized tests

@ # State

(WVLT) -- State officials have given an update to this year's issues with TNReady testing.

Testing has officially wrapped up for the 2018 year. The investigation into what caused issues with online testing is ongoing.

Over 2.5 million test sessions were competed online over the 18-day test administration window. This was the largest year ever for testing.

The Tennessee Department of Education said in part about the testing issues,

"We are continuing to learn from what we experienced this administration, both on paper and online, and identifying ways to improve. Additionally, as is protocol as states move to online testing, we will conduct additional analyses of our test results to identify any impact the online interruptions may have had. "

On May 14, DOE officials released a document detailing "How we are improving assessments in Tennessee." According to that document, state DOE officials are gathering feedback from district leaders and stakeholders, including using feedback sessions with school directors and assessment coordinators in regional meetings across the state this summer.

"We are also seeking and look forward to direct feedback from teachers and principals,"
the document states.
"And, we will conduct focus group sessions with teachers, parents and students."

Officials said the following program changes would be implemented for the 2018-19 school year:

  • Transition to using ETS for all test designs, allowing third-party Questar to focus solely on test delivery and reporting.
  • Transitioning to no stand-alone field tests for the next two years, and continuing to reduce tests and time where we can, including eliminating two end-of-course assessments for next year.
  • All online assessments will use a third-party expert to serve as an external consultant to conduct a review of all Questar technology systems.
  • Officials will use a large-scale stress test to verify Questar's systems' capacity.
  • Review text-to-speech features that caused slow-downs and issues for the Nextera platform.
  • Paper tests will reduce the number of forms, and officials have explored test booklet changes, which would streamline and simplify logistics for schools.

The DOE also said they would be "significantly improving customer service," explaining that Quester did not provide "the quality of customer service and training support that our schools deserve."

Final test scores are expected to be released later in May.

For more information about new guidance for educators and schools regarding TNReady testing, click here.